Living

Brighten up

Six simple ways to add colour to your table

Creating a bright and cheerful table setting doesn’t have to be complicated – or expensive. And, what’s more, adding an interesting centrepiece or colourful accessories to a table will get people talking, says Jane Lockhart, host of the W Network’s Colour Confidential. You don’t have to go far to bring colour to your table: the dollar store is a great place to ignite your imagination and find inexpensive accessories.

So what’s hot for spring? “Fuchsia is huge,” says Lockhart. “Tropical colours such as any of the blues – cool blue, aqua, teal, turquoise. Citrus colours such as orange and yellow,” she adds. “It’s about including more intense colour that can be used with white for a bit of a breather.” Read on for six ways to add a touch of spring to your dining table.

Spring flowers can add either a subtle or shocking amount of colour to your table. Daisies, pale tulips and white lilies can be a calming contrast if you include colour elsewhere. For more of an impact, choose orange black-eyed Susans, yellow daffodils, blue hyacinths or pink echinacea flowers.

If your flowers are looking droopy, here’s a simple solution from Lockhart: add a shot of any clear liquor to the vase water. It won’t extend the life of your blooms, but it will perk them up for the duration of the meal.

Layering your table linens is an easy way to create a colour theme. Start with a plain cotton tablecloth in a bright colour. Layer a panel of sheer fabric with a great floral pattern on top. Or start with a white tablecloth and layer on a sheer burst of colour.

People tend to reduce the amount of colour at more formal sittings, but you can add colour in a sophisticated way. Get creative with bold place cards. Use quality construction paper or delicate vellum, or print out your place cards on colourful or patterned computer paper.

Do you always reach for the plain white plates? Punch things up with colourful dishware. Look for inexpensive plastic or Lucite, which is more matte.

The best kind of light for dinner parties is candlelight, says Lockhart. Use your candles as a centrepiece. Intersperse a series of white pillar candles with smaller colourful candles or tea lights. Just be sure to keep things at the right height – centerpieces should either be tall or short, never in the middle, says Lockhart. You don’t want to interfere with the flow of conversation.

Looking to step away from the traditional floral or candle centrepiece? Fill a pitcher with water and put lemons and limes in it, either whole or cut in pieces. Create an edible centrepiece using Smarties or colourful candy. Have a summer theme with colourful plastic buckets and a towel tablecloth. It all depends on the age group and the interest, says Lockhart. Just have fun and use your imagination!